June 2, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays short stop Munenori Kawasaki (66) attempts a double play during the second inning against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Munenori Kawasaki's Time With The Blue Jays Coming To An End

With the return of Jose Reyes to the Toronto Blue Jays line up fast approaching, it’s time for the legions of Toronto Blue Jays fans that have come to adore his replacement to come to terms with the inevitable. Munenori Kawasaki’s time on the Blue Jays Major League roster is coming to an end.

Kawasaki’s popularity may seem strange to some, for those of us that have been Toronto sports fans our entire lives, this city’s attraction to players that just aren’t very good is quite common place. Guys like John McDonald, or Tie Domi for the Maple Leafs capture the heart of the city, despite their lack of actual value to a team (Johnny Mac at least played a fine shortstop).

Kawasaki has enamoured himself to fans not by being a good baseball player, but instead by doing things like this:

 And this:

(Thanks to DJF and @Goldandorsmith for the GIFs)

And this:

Unfortunately for Mr. Kawasaki the things that he doesn’t do well enough are hit, run, or field, which are all kind of important for being on a baseball team. Sure Kawasaki has been slightly above replacement for the time that he’s been filling in for Jose Reyes, but he just hasn’t been good enough to supplant any of the other players on the Blue Jays roster once Reyes returns.

Saying Emilio Bonifacio and Maicer Izturis have struggled thus far in 2013 might be an understatement, but their potential contributions, positional flexibility and in the case of Izturis, his contract, all but ensure that they will be above Kawasaki on the depth chart when it comes to roster crunch time.

While the love for Kawasaki has been cute, and his (modest) production has been a surprise, being upset by his loss is folly. Baseball is a business, and to succeed the Blue Jays need to field the best team possible. To field the best team possible, the Blue Jays are going to move forward without their favourite “JAPANEEEEEEEESE” shortstop.

Despite its obviousness and inevitability, the cult of Kawasaki will decry this choice. Luckily for Blue Jays fans, Kawasaki will be going down to make room for Jose Reyes. Remember him? He’s one of the best shortstops in baseball? One of the most exciting players in the game? He plays for the Toronto Blue Jays!

The Blue Jays return to Toronto this weekend to play the Texas Rangers, which is followed by a 7 –game road trip that lasts until June 17. That my friends means that this weekend could be the last chance you have to see Munenori play in a Blue Jays uniform. The way 2013 has gone for the Jays, I’m almost certain that someone will get hurt and Kawasaki will be back, because if something bad is going to happen it might as well happen to the Jays, so maybe Kawasaki stays, but if not this could be your last chance to say goodbye.

For all you suckers fans out there that plunked down $35 for a Kawasaki t-shirt, or god forbid spent $150+ on a replica Kawasaki jersey, you’d better start wearing it every day, because in a couple of weeks, it won’t be of much use.

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  • RyanMueller

    Totally agree. In recent years he would have been a good bench guy. Having him, Boni, Macier, DeRosa all on the team is just not a good use of resources. I hope the Jays hold onto him. He handled the bat well, hit decent with runners on base and was decent on D which is all you can ask of a AAA non-prospect replacement. He also lacks the versatility that the other 3 guys I mentioned making him the ideal candidate to head to Buffalo. Good luck Kawasaki.

  • Action

    Not a lot of love from Jays fans for Izturis. Yeah hes got a three year contract, but that shouldn’t stop them from being able to bury him for now in AAA. I would think its doubtful anyone would claim him off waivers, and money doesn’t seem to be an issue for the team. They should run with the best players they got, and right now Kawasaki has been far better than Boni, DeRosa or Iz as an everyday player.

    • CashGameND

      kawasaki also has an upside. its only his 2nd year in the mlb, hes adjusting and has already improved over his first season in the league. he’s definitely a solid contributor off the bench.

  • CashGameND

    doesnt make any sense to move him instead of izturis. he comes on a far cheeper contract, is younger, and has more upside. Hes also one of the very few players in the lineup who can work a count, and his defense is better then bonfacio/izturis/derosa. and I believe he could easily play any position on the field as good or better then izturis.

    trade izturis for anything, keep kawasaki. They should keep a fan favourite, not only for the fans, but because it also makes alot of sense for the team. I’m sure there’ll be a bit of a market for izturis, and with another year or 2 left on his contract, right now is likely the peak of his value

  • disqus_Iph3mW39rS

    to say bonifacio and izturis have struggled is an understatement…blue jay management made poor choice when they obtained these two….they cannot handle any positions they been required to play